This is Part 2 of 2 of the Matthean End Time discourse page of the End Time prophecy website titled "Jesus and the End Time". This End Time or Olivet discourse shows and discusses the King James or KJV Bible passages ("texts" for short) which appear in chapters 24 and 25 of the Gospel of Matthew. This discourse and its Markan and Lukan counterparts, the Markan End Time discourse (Mark 13:1-37) and the Lukan End Time discourse (Luke 21:5-37), are singled out for special treatment for the reasons given on the Introduction page of this site. The most important of these is that these discourses include the longest and most complete descriptions of the End Time teachings of Jesus that can be found in the Gospels in which they appear. As a result, these discourses can reasonably be regarded as together comprising the single most important set of Biblical texts that readers can use to understand the Eschatology of Jesus described in the KJV Bible.
While the KJV Bible shows the Matthean End Time discourse as a long unbroken sequence of verses that occupy almost all of chapters 24 and 25 of the Gospel of Matthew, the writer divides this discourse into two parts and uses the end of Matt. 24:36 as the dividing line between them. He does this because the latter is the verse at which Matthew stops describing End Time prophecies of Jesus that generally parallel those appearing in Mark's and Luke's End Time discourses, and begins describing End Time prophecies of Jesus that do not appear in their discourses or, in all but a few cases, anywhere else in their Gospels. Among these are additional teachings of Jesus about hell and everlasting punishment, everlasting fire, the Son of man, the throne of his glory, and an End Time Judgment (Matt. 25:31-46), an event now usually called the Day of Judgment or Last Judgment. By dividing Matthew's discourse into two parts the writer draws attention to these differences and tries to make it easier for readers to recognize and understand their true significance.
As will be explained more fully below, one of the most important differences between Matthew's End Time discourse on the one hand and Mark's and Luke's End Time discourses on the other is that Matthew's discourse includes the KJV Bible's first and only use of the phrases everlasting punishment (eternal punishment in the NRSV Bible) in v. 46 of Jesus' description of the End Time Judgment (Matt. 25:31-46). Because the Old Testament does not say anything about a divinely decreed punishment that continues without end forever (or for all time, all eternity, etc.), knowing the correct interpretation or meaning of the phrase 'everlasting punishment' and the phrase 'eternal punishment' could hardly be more consequential. Accordingly, the most likely possible meanings of the word everlasting (or the word eternal) are discussed not only generally below, but also in depth in web pages and PDFs that the writer has included for this purpose. See in this connection the web page titled "Notes on Everlasting Punishment" that he has included among the Main End Time Files of the Home and Table of Contents pages of this website, and the PDF titled "Senses of the Word Everlasting" that he has included among the Auxiliary End Time Files of those pages.
37 But as the days of Noe were, so shall also the coming of the Son of man be. 38 For as in the days that were before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noe entered into the ark, 39 And knew not until the flood came, and took them all away; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be. 40 Then shall two be in the field; the one shall be taken, and the other left. 41 Two women shall be grinding at the mill; the one shall be taken, and the other left. P 42 Watch therefore: for ye know not what hour your Lord doth come. 43 But know this, that if the goodman of the house had known in what watch the thief would come, he would have watched, and would not have suffered his house to be broken up. 44 Therefore be ye also ready: for in such an hour as ye think not the Son of man cometh. 45 Who then is a faithful and wise servant, whom his lord hath made ruler over his household, to give them meat in due season? 46 Blessed is that servant, whom his lord when he cometh shall find so doing. 47 Verily I say unto you, That he shall make him ruler over all his goods. 48 But and if that evil servant shall say in his heart, My lord delayeth his coming; 49 And shall begin to smite his fellow servants, and to eat and drink with the drunken; 50 The lord of that servant shall come in a day when he looketh not for him, and in an hour that he is not aware of, 51 And shall cut him asunder, and appoint him his portion with the hypocrites: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth. [end ch.]
• V. 37-39 roughly correspond to v. 26-27 of Luke 17:26-37, but have no counterpart in the Gospel of Mark or John.
• By comparing the coming of the Son of man to the days of Noe in v. 37-39, Jesus explicitly alludes to texts like Gen. 6:1-13 and Gen. 6:17-18, in which God speaks of the "end of all flesh" (Gen. 6:13) and destroying "all flesh" (Gen. 6:17). This, in turn, seems to clarify the things Jesus has in mind when he speaks about "no flesh" being saved in v. 22 of Matt. 24:1-22 above and its Markan counterpart, v. 20 of Mark 13:1-20. See also v. 26-27 of Luke 17:26-37.
• In the Gospel of Luke, the Lukan counterpart of v. 37-39, Luke 17:26-27, is immediately followed by Luke 17:28-30, which describe Jesus comparing the days of the Son of man to those of Lot, when fire and brimstone rained from heaven, and destroyed them all. While Jesus does not mention Lot by name in Matthew or Mark, he may well have had him in mind when he compared the Day of Judgment to the fate of Sodom and Gomorrha as he sent out the twelve to preach that the kingdom of heaven is at hand. See v. 15 of Matt. 10:5-23 and v. 11 of Mark 6:7-13. See also v. 12 of Luke 10:1-16.
• The two persons and two women mentioned in v. 40-41 seem to correspond to those mentioned, with some variations in wording, in v. 35-36 of Luke 17:26-37. Neither of these pairs of persons is mentioned in the Gospels of Mark and John.
• The command to watch in v. 42 seems to be repeated in v. 13 of Matt. 25:1-13 below, but with the phrase "your Lord" replaced by the phrase "the Son of man". This command is also similar to that included in v. 35 of Mark 13:32-37, even though the latter is longer and uses "the master of the house" where v. 42 uses "your Lord". See also Mark 13:33.
• The command to watch that Jesus gives in v. 42 seems to be related to the warning against drunkenness he gives in v. 49. In spite of differences in wording and word order, this relationship seems to parallel that between the command to watch that Jesus gives in v. 36 of Luke 21:25-37 and the warning against drunkenness he gives in v. 34 of that text.
• V. 42, 44 and 50 seem to reiterate an idea that is expressed in more absolute terms in v. 36 of Matt. 24:29-36 and in v. 32 of Mark 13:32-37. The most nearly similar verses in the Gospel of Luke, v. 40 and 46 of Luke 12:35-48, say that the Son of man will not come when people think (v. 40) or will come when they are not looking for him (v. 46).
• V. 43-44 are generally similar to v. 39-40 of Luke 12:35-48. No similar verses appear in the Gospels of Mark or John.
• The servant parable Jesus tells in v. 45-51 parallels the parable he tells in v. 42-46 of Luke 12:35-48, except that Luke describes the unwise servant as included with unbelievers and beaten with stripes, while Matthew describes him grouped with "…the hypocrites: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.". Interestingly, the last-quoted words can be read as a graphic, if roundabout, way of referring to hell. See also v. 28 of Luke 13:22-30.
• The unusual phrase "weeping and gnashing of teeth" in v. 51 above also appears in v. 12 of Matt. 8:10-12, v. 13 of Matt. 22:1-14 and v. 30 of Matt. 25:14-30. It also appears once in Luke (v. 28 of Luke 13:22-30), but does not appear anywhere in the Gospels of Mark and John. In addition, the similar phrase "wailing and gnashing of teeth" appears in v. 42 of Matt. 13:36-43 and v. 50 of Matt 13:47-50. All phrases of these kinds seem to be based on v. 10 of Ps. 112:1-10.
• Among texts that use phrases like weeping (or wailing) and gnashing of teeth, Matt. 13:36-43 and Matt. 13:47-50 are of special interest because they couple these phrases with references to the end of the world and to persons who are cast into a furnace of fire. Matt. 25:14-30 is also of special interest because it uses "weeping and gnashing of teeth" in a verse that immediately precedes and lays a foundation for the teachings of Jesus about the End Time Judgment described in Matt. 25:31-46, v. 46 of which is the only KJV Bible verse that uses the words "everlasting punishment" as such.
• The above-mentioned similarities between v. 42 and v. 35 of Mark 13:32-37, and between v. 42 and v. 48 and v. 36 and 34 respectively of Luke 21:25-37, are more significant than they may at first appear. This is because, as in the case of Matt. 24:29-36 above, these Markan and Lukan verses appear near the ends of their discourses, while v. 42 and v. 48 appear near the middle of the Matthean discourse. The significance of these facts will be discussed more fully in Notes included at the end of this document.
1 Then shall the kingdom of heaven be likened unto ten virgins, which took their lamps, and went forth to meet the bridegroom. 2 And five of them were wise, and five were foolish. 3 They that were foolish took their lamps, and took no oil with them: 4 But the wise took oil in their vessels with their lamps. 5 While the bridegroom tarried, they all slumbered and slept. 6 And at midnight there was a cry made, Behold, the bridegroom cometh; go ye out to meet him. 7 Then all those virgins arose, and trimmed their lamps. 8 And the foolish said unto the wise, Give us of your oil; for our lamps are gone out. 9 But the wise answered, saying, Not so; lest there be not enough for us and you: but go ye rather to them that sell, and buy for yourselves. 10 And while they went to buy, the bridegroom came; and they that were ready went in with him to the marriage: and the door was shut. 11 Afterward came also the other virgins, saying, Lord, Lord, open to us. 12 But he answered and said, Verily I say unto you, I know you not. 13 Watch therefore, for ye know neither the day nor the hour wherein the Son of man cometh. [end par.]
• V. 1 begins a parable about virgins who are expected to have their lamps burning while they wait for a bridegroom. While no other Gospel includes this parable as such, Luke 12:35-48 includes a similar parable about men who wait for their lord's return from a wedding and are expected to have their lights burning. Interestingly, both v. 13 and v. 40 of Luke 12:35-48 command listeners to watch (or be ready) because the hour when the Son of man will come is unknown.
• V. 1 is the first verse of the Matthean discourse that uses the phrase "kingdom of heaven" as such. While the Gospel of Matthew uses this phrase over thirty times, the other Gospels do not use it even once. They do, however, often use the phrase "kingdom of God". Examples of verse pairs that use these two phrases interchangeably are shown in the Auxiliary Sense File titled "Senses of the Word Kingdom". See also the Auxiliary Sense File titled "Senses of the Word Heaven".
• A number of parallels exist between v. 5-12 above and v. 5-10 of Luke 11:5-13. Both texts, for example, involve persons who are asleep at midnight, and who are awakened and asked for something. Both texts also involve shut doors. In v. 5-12, the request is refused, but in Luke 11:5-13 the request is granted. One explanation may be that v. 12 involves persons who are not known to the person inside the door, while Luke 11:5 and 8 involve a person who is a friend of the person inside. See also, however, Luke 13:22-30, which involves persons who are known to the person inside, but who are turned away because they are workers of iniquity (v. 27).
• The parable Jesus tells in v. 5-12 has no obvious counterpart in the Gospel of Mark, which does not use door (or gate or way) imagery with enter (or open or come) imagery to contrast the fate of those who are saved and not saved. The Markan text that is most similar to a text of this kind is Mark 10:17-27, v. 25 of which describes Jesus saying, "It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich person to enter the kingdom of God.", a saying that clearly corresponds to v. 24 of Matt. 19:16-26 and v. 25 of Luke 18:18-27. Jesus does, however, use door and way imagery in the Gospel of John. See, for example, John 10:1-3 and 7-9 and John 14:5-7.
• V. 11-12 seem to be related to v. 21 of Matt. 7:21-23, in which Jesus says, "Not everyone that saith unto me Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven.". That the idea he conveys here is not as simple as it may seem is suggested by v. 14 of Matt. 7:13-14, which says that few will find and enter the straight gate that leads to life, and v. 7-8 of Matt. 7:7-12, which say that he who asks (or knocks) will receive (or be opened). See also Matt. 20:16 and Matt. 22:14.
• V. 22-26 of John 16:19-28 is still another text that arguably affects the meaning of v. 11-12. This is because the latter text describes Jesus speaking about the importance of how, when and of whom a person asks for things.
• It is unclear how the things said in v. 11-12 are related to similar things said in the Old Testament. V. 32 of Joel 2:28-32, for example, says, "whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be delivered: for in mount Zion and in Jerusalem shall be deliverance, as the Lord hath said, and in the remnant whom the Lord shall call.". See also Ps. 145:17-20.
• The command to watch in v. 13 corresponds to that in v. 42 of Matt 24:37-51, except that v. 13 uses the phrase "the Son of man" where Matt. 24:42 uses "your Lord". In most other respects, these commands seem to be only further indications of the importance of the fact that the time of this coming is unknown. See in this connection v. 36 of Matt 24:29-36 and v. 44 and 50 of Matt. 24:37-51 above. See also v. 32 and 35 of Mark 13:32-37 and v. 40 and 46 of Luke 12:35-48.
P 14 For the kingdom of heaven is as a man travelling into a far country, who called his own servants, and delivered unto them his goods. 15 And unto one he gave five talents, to another two, and to another one; to every man according to his several ability; and straightway took his journey. 16 Then he that had received the five talents went and traded with the same, and made them other five talents. 17 And likewise he that had received two, he also gained another two. 18 But he that had received one went and digged in the earth, and hid his lord's money. 19 After a long time the lord of those servants cometh, and reckoneth with them. 20 And so he that had received five talents came and brought other five talents, saying, Lord, thou deliveredst unto me five talents: behold, I have gained beside them five talents more. 21 His lord said unto him, Well done, thou good and faithful servant: thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord. 22 He also that had received two talents came and said, Lord, thou deliveredst unto me two talents: behold, I have gained two other talents beside them. 23 His lord said unto him, Well done, good and faithful servant; thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord. 24 Then he which had received the one talent came and said, Lord, I knew thee that thou art an hard man, reaping where thou hast not sown, and gathering where thou hast not strawed: 25 And I was afraid, and went and hid thy talent in the earth: lo, there thou hast that is thine. 26 His lord answered and said unto him, Thou wicked and slothful servant, thou knewest that I reap where I sowed not, and gather where I have not strawed: 27 Thou oughtest therefore to have put my money to the exchangers, and then at my coming I should have received mine own with usury. 28 Take therefore the talent from him, and give it unto him which hath ten talents. 29 For unto every one that hath shall be given, and he shall have abundance: but from him that hath not shall be taken away even that which he hath. 30 And cast ye the unprofitable servant into outer darkness: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth. [end par.]
• This text is a prime example of an End Time text. This is because v. 14-15 and 19 describe the lord of the servants going away and returning after a long absence, and because v. 20-30 describes him judging his servants on the basis of what they have done in his absence. As a result, this text seems to be a thinly veiled description of the importance of what a person does before Jesus returns to preside over the End Time Judgment.
• The End Time parable Jesus tells in v. 14-30 is similar to the parable he tells in Luke 19:11-27, in spite of the fact that it involves three servants and eight talents, while Luke 19:11-27 involves ten servants and ten pounds. One reason is that these parables have similar overall structures and involve similar sequences of events. A second is that the rewards given to the good servants in v. 21 and 23, like those in v. 17-19 of Luke 19:11-27, involve granting rule/authority over others. A third is that v. 24-28 and v. 20-24 of Luke 19:11-27 not only closely parallel one another, but also include the only two verses of the New Testament that use the word "usury". Finally, v. 29 above, the next to last verse of this text, appears almost word for word in v. 26 of Luke 19:11-27, the next to last verse of that text.
• In spite of the above-mentioned similarities, the parables Jesus tells in v. 14-30 and in Luke 19:11-27 have a number of differences. One is that, while Matthew's parable relates to a man who travels to a far country for an unstated reason (v. 14-15) and calls for a reckoning on his return (v. 19), Luke's parable relates to a nobleman who goes into a far country to receive a kingdom (v. 12) and returns after receiving it (v. 15). Thus, Luke's parable seems to allude to the End Time kingdom mentioned in v. 13-14 of Dan. 7:9-14, while Matthew's parable does not.
• A second difference between these parables is that, while both describe the wicked or slothful servant having his talent (or pound) taken and given to a servant who already has ten (v. 28 above and v. 24-25 of Luke 19:11-27), they end very differently. Specifically, Matthew's parable ends with v. 30, which describes the lord of the servants ordering the slothful servant to be cast into outer darkness where there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth. Luke's parable, on the other hand, ends with v. 27, which does not say anything more about the fate of wicked servant, but describes the nobleman ordering those citizens who do not want him to reign over them to be brought before him and slain.
• The gain mentioned in v. 17, 20 and 22 and the return with usury mentioned in v. 27 seem to symbolize something Jesus speaks about many times in the Gospels, namely, the importance of bearing fruit or, in other words, persuading others to repent and follow him. These references to gain seem to correspond to those made in v. 15-18 and 23 of Luke 19:11-27.
• Jesus' use of the word "enter" in v. 21 and 23 above seems to foreshadow his use of the words "come" and "inherit" in v. 34 of Matt. 25:31-46 below. Similarly, Jesus' use of the words "cast...into outer darkness:" in v. 30 seems to foreshadow his use of the words "depart" and "go away" in v. 41 and 46 of Matt. 25:31-46.
• The importance of the teaching of Jesus described in v. 29 is suggested by its appearance, with variations in wording, not only in v. 26 of Luke 19:11-27, but also in v. 12 of Matt. 13:10-17, v. 25 of Mark 4:21-25 and v. 18 of Luke 8:16-18. It may be that this teaching is related to that described in v. 48 of Luke 12:35-48: "For unto whomsoever much is given, of him shall be much required: and to whom men have committed much, of him they will ask the more.".
• V. 30 is the second verse of the Matthean discourse in which Jesus uses the phrase "weeping and gnashing of teeth", the first being v. 51 of Matt. 24:37-51 above. As explained in a Note included with the latter text, this phrase appears in a number of other verses in the Gospel of Matthew, including v. 12 of Matt. 8:10-12 and v. 13 of Matt. 22:1-14. It also appears once in the Gospel of Luke (v. 28 of Luke 13:22-30), but not at all in the Gospels of Mark or John. All of these phrases seem to be based on v. 10 of Ps. 112:1-10.
• V. 30 is of special interest because the words "weeping and gnashing of teeth" are very similar to the words "wailing and gnashing of teeth", which Jesus uses in Matt. 13:36-43 and Matt 13:47-50 and couples with references to the end of the world and to persons who are cast into a furnace of fire. V. 30 is also of special interest because it immediately precedes and lays a foundation for the teachings of Jesus about the End Time Judgment (Matt. 25:31-46) and because the latter text includes the first and only verse of the King James Bible that uses the words "everlasting punishment" as such to describe one of the outcomes of that Judgment.
Matt. 25:31-46 below is the last text that the KJV Bible includes as a part of the Matthean End Time discourse. In this text Jesus provides the KJV Bible's longest and most complete description of his teachings about the End Time Judgment. Specifically, he describes his teachings not only about the events that will immediately precede this Judgment, but also how and by whom it will be conducted, who will be judged, the criteria that will be used to judge them, and the future destinies that will be decreed for them. As a result, this text and its associated Notes are discussed and should be read with special care and attention to detail. In addition, this text includes the only instance of a verse in which the KJV Bible uses the phrase "everlasting punishment" as such. Because the meaning of this phrase has an importance that is difficult to overstate, the writer has included a Special Note titled "Notes on Everlasting Punishment" that discusses this subject at length. Copies of this Special Note may be found both at the end of the full-length PDF version of The Matthean End Time Discourse file and among the Main End Time Files of this website.
As stated in connection with Matt. 24:29-36 and Matt. 24:37-51, Matthew does not end his End Time discourse in the same way that Mark and Luke end their End Time discourses. More particularly, Matthew does not end his discourse with verses that describe Jesus telling a parable about watchful servants (v. 42-50 of Matt. 24:37-51 above), and that seem to roughly correspond to v. 34-36 of Mark 13:32-37 and to parts of v. 34-36 of Luke 21:25-37. Instead, Matthew describes Jesus continuing to speak, without stopping, not only to the end of chapter 24 of his Gospel, but also through all of chapter 25 thereof. Because these additional verses make the Matthean discourse much longer than either the Markan or Lukan discourse, some scholars may argue that they should not be treated as parts of the Matthean discourse. Because arguments of this kind involve issues too technical and time consuming to discuss in a writing of this kind, the writer will make no attempt to do so. Instead, he will simply treat these verses as if they were parts of the Matthean discourse, for present purposes, and focus on pointing out the things they reveal about the teachings of Jesus about the End Time Judgment.
Unfortunately, neither the Markan nor the Lukan discourse includes texts in which Jesus describes trial-like proceedings or judgments of the kind he describes in v. 14-30 and v. 31-46 of chapter 25 of Matthew. As a result, the writer does not have a clear textual basis for discussing how the things Jesus says in these texts affect and are affected by the most nearly similar things he says in the Markan and Lukan discourses. Accordingly, rather than say nothing about this subject in the Markan and Lukan discourses, the writer has included with them extra sets of Notes that discuss how the things that Jesus says in these texts are related to the most nearly similar things he says elsewhere in the Gospels of Mark and Luke. See in this connection the Notes titled "Comparative Notes on the End Time Judgment" that the writer has included as Appendices to both The Markan and The Lukan End Time Discourse files.
At the end of the full-length PDF version of his discussion of the Matthean End Time discourse that appears on the Table of Contents page of this website, the writer has included an Appendix titled "Notes on Everlasting Punishment". In that Appendix, the writer discusses at length not only the Old Testament texts that Jesus quotes from or alludes to to support his teachings about everlasting punishment and everlasting fire, but also the broader Scriptural background of these and arguably synonymous words and phrases. Because the inclusion of that Appendix on this web page would increase its size without providing any significant offsetting benefit, the writer will not include that Appendix here and, instead, include it as stand-alone documents that appear on the Table of Contents and Home pages of this website.
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